Thursday, December 18, 2014

Beans and Such

I have been wanting to start writing again but apparently a huge log jam of ideas has got me bound up.  So, yesterday it occurred to me: I need to write about something different.  Or write about things differently.  And it just came to me:  beans, I bet no one is blogging about.... BEANS.

I love lentils, red and blacks, northerns, pintos and navies. Every week I cook about two pounds.  I start by soaking them in a large bowl of water for at least 10 hours. Next day I rinse and drain the beans and put them in the slow cooker with enough water to cover.  Into that goes a couple thick slices of bacon (or 2 T olive oil if going vegan,) 2 T of salt, and three or four large cloves of garlic; this is my basic, foundational recipe. I simmer them on high for 3-5 hours, depending on the beans** until they are creamy but still meaty and delicious. On day one, we usually just have a bowl of plain beans, with perhaps some fresh corn tortillas, plain or fried, or a small salad on the side. But beans are the main course.

This week I added to the basic recipe 2 T finely ground coffee and 1 T of pure chili powder (not the blend but "chili puro" from New Mexico.) These black beans needed an extra hour or two to soften but when they did, they were fantastic!!!  Yesterday (day two) I added some left over taco meat (ground beef) and served it over a small portion of rice.  This is how the week usually progresses. Tomorrow I'll probably make some tacos al pastor (fresh tortillas, not fried) with beans on the side, or maybe they'll morph into chili.... and so forth until the beans are all gone or I get sick of them. Usually there is only a half a cup or so left at the end of the week that gets tossed so that I can start fresh.

**By the way, if you wonder about the intestinal discomfort from dried beans, a word of warning and encouragement.  Soaking the beans adequately tends to break down some of the enzymes that are hard to digest so by all means, soak them beans!  And make sure you rinse, drain, and then BOIL especially pintos and kidneys rapidly for 10 minutes before simmering them. These have an unusually high amount of the toxin.  If your slow cooker doesn't get hot enough to simmer the beans adequately, you may need to boil all your beans before cooking them in a crock pot.  My slow cooker has an adequate 'high' setting so I cook everything in it right from the start except for pintos and kidneys.

Next time I'll tell you a little bit about how this passion began.  Oh, did I mention coffee beans? Hope you enjoy it.

No comments: